By Outdoor Prolink content creator and resident dirtbag Sara Aranda. Sara likes to climb, trail run, travel, adventure, test gear and write all about it. She currently lives in Yosemite.
The original Petzl ELIA was the first climbing helmet I bought for myself due to the great and simple fact that it was specific to females, particularly to allow for ponytails and other rat’s-nest hairdos that result from a hot day at the crag. This newer version not only comes in three great colors (white, green, or red), but it also offers a better and more precise fit.
Made from injection molded ABS and expanded polystyrene liner, the Petzl ELIA was made for “maximum durability and versatility” (Petzl Website). The older version was known for being a little “slippery” when it came to maintaining adjustments. The ponytail notch on the old OMEGA headband always moved after a while and failed to maintain a snug fit – often leaving me with a cockeyed helmet and constant fuss.
Taking that into consideration, I am really confident about the updates to the OMEGA headband, and I have yet to finish a climb with a sideways helmet. With the webbing, there are now fixed points, allowing for adjustments to happen only where you want them, and lessens the likelihood of things readjusting themselves after activity.
- Very comfortable and snug, great stability
- Easily adjustable
- More vents for airflow
- Chin clip is easier to grasp and undo with one hand
- Four sturdy clips for a headlamp
- Removable and washable padding
- Compatible with the VIZION eye shield
- Durable hard plastic
- The OMEGA headband notch at the back of the head is narrower now and more likely to pull hair when first putting on (but this feature does make for a better fit, so it comes with the territory)
- Extra long chin strap – wish there was something to tuck the extra length into
- Not as low-profile as the older version, but what helmet is truly flattering!
Overall it’s a great, versatile helmet and will definitely withstand years of climbing, whether it be in off-widths or bumping into trees on your scramble approach. Fortunately I’ve never had to experience a rock falling onto my head, but it’s the habit that matters and I’m definitely a promoter of helmet use for both sport and trad climbing. This helmet is also designed for use in ice climbing, mountaineering, caving and via ferrata. And of course, it’s prized specialty is that it allows all the ladies and gents will long flowing hair to wear ponytails or manbuns.
Unfortunately I lost my new ELIA a few days ago while descending a hiking trail after a multi-pitch. It was more or less an error on my part when I decided to attach it to the rope on my back and prance down the trail, sunburned and starving. The trail is really popular so it probably got swiped immediately. I’m super bummed, as I really liked it, so I have every intention to replace it!